A trio of Wyoming Valley Conference alumni nearly brought home a medal for the United States.
Kelsey Kolojejchick (Wyoming Seminary), Paige Selenski (Dallas) and Kat Sharkey (Wyoming Seminary) were all involved in Saturday’s third-place match at the Field Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands. The Americans lost 2-1 to favored Argentina in a battle for the bronze.
Trailing by that score at halftime, the U.S. had some near misses from its WVC contingent while pressing for the tying goal.
Kolojejchick, one of the tournament’s leading scorers, had her best chance early in the second half, making a diving attempt to get her stick on a pass. Two days earlier, the former Seminary and North Carolina star had left her feet while stickhandling to score one of her two goals against Australia in the semifinals.
This time, however, she couldn’t get a shot away as the pass was just out of her reach.
Her former teammate with the Blue Knights, Sharkey, had two opportunities of her own in the second half. Argentina goalie Maria Mutio denied Sharkey on one attempt, while a second shot in the final 15 minutes went just wide of the net.
The Americans had one last opportunity on a penalty corner but were unable to tie the game in the final moments as they had against Australia in the semifinals.
Team captain Lauren Crandall scored the lone goal for the U.S., which entered the Cup ranked 10th in the world but finished fourth.
“Right now there is a feeling of disappointment, but I think it affirms that we are going in the right direction,” Crandall told reporters in Netherlands. “And it fills us with pride.”
Host Netherlands won gold later in the day, edging Australia 2-0.
Kolojejchick finished the tournament tied for third in scoring with five goals, a total that led the U.S. women. Sharkey had two goals and Selenski finished with one.
Like its soccer counterpart, the Hockey World Cup is held every four years. The U.S. did not qualify for the event in 2010 and fell short of advancing from pool play in 2006.
This time, the U.S. surprisingly won its pool, winning four of five matches with one draw. The Americans then lost in a shootout to Australia in the semifinals before Saturday’s finale vs. Argentina.
“We’re pleased with the way we have done over the past couple of weeks,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham told reporters in Netherlands. “It was a tight game, but overall I’m proud of how the girls have performed — not just over the past two weeks, but also over the last eight months.
“As a 10th-ranked team, to come here and finish fourth is good and justifies the work the girls have been doing.”